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2023-24 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Suns (Would Have Been Home for Durant If He Wasn’t Such a Coward Opener, which is a thing)

The Knicks host the Phoenix Suns in a game against Kevin Durant, the guy who totally was coming to the Knicks a few years back and then backed out after he got injured, and then has constantly lied about how he was never actually coming here. Come on, dude, let’s be real here.

The Knicks are coming off an outstanding comeback victory over the Miami Heat, so let’s hope that they also kick the Suns’ ass tonight. Really show the rest of the league that the Knicks are a menace to deal with!

You know it’s gotta be, all the way to 53!

Let’s go, Knicks!

(As an aside, I actually don’t know for sure if I guessed 53 offhand. I’m pretty sure I did, but maybe I said 52? I don’t feel like checking).

216 replies on “2023-24 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Suns (Would Have Been Home for Durant If He Wasn’t Such a Coward Opener, which is a thing)”

So first thing I did was google ‘coward opener,’ and what came up was this thread!

Otherwise it’s a bit of a mystery…

Uff, I officially hate Kevin Durant,
another win that won’t say anything meaningful about our “real” value, what a drag!

But 10-6 is good!

Let’s Go Knicks!

Another game at home where the Knicks start out with the intensity of a preseason game while on the road they usually start off on fire.

They have 8 Orebs to our 6 drebs

We have 0 threes and only 3 attempts

We have 1 FTA and it was missed

Sometimes when Mitch, Grimes, and Randle are on the floor it’s like playing 6 on 2 because Randle is helping the other team. 😉

Start him, don’t start him, whatever but Quickley is our second best player and should get 30+ minutes every night

As the father of a 15-year-old son, I watch that interview of how RJ treats his dad like shit in the car and I just want to slap him upside his head.

You can’t not like this team, mezzanine or not

And I am also not sure Quick isn’t our best player,

Why is Eric Gordon still in the NBA and why is he roasting us

Pretty sure that guy was teammates with Dolph Schayes

The fact that five years in I still shudder when RJ Barrett has the ball with the shot clock winding down is not great

If you can’t post up 49 year old Eric Gordon you probably shouldn’t ever be posting anybody up

You really can’t win a professional basketball game when one guy just turns it over and then won’t play defense on the other end. Four point turnaround.

RJ: “If I keep driving on this big gallug, eventually I should be able to score a bucket on him. Eventually.”

Randle is unwatchable at times.

RJ dribbling around is almost as unwatchable. WTF is so hard about passing the ball when you don’t have a shot?

Randle has been pathetic on both ends, and Grimes shouldn’t be starting or playing heavy minutes for an NBA team

Getting close to returning to “trade Randle for anything you can” island. I don’t think it’s tenable to be a serious team if one of your highest usage players is quite prone to 82 game slumps.

Here’s hoping that our boys skip the customary halftime bong rips this time as the usual 17-0 run to start the third will likely put us away this time.

Last game’s comeback was a nice sugar high but it’s sobering to see how uncompetitive we are against an actual contender missing two of their three best players when we’re at full strength and at home. The mezzanine always catches up to you.

Even when Randle is filling up the boxscore he’s mostly empty stats. He’s a low IQ basketball player, ball stopper, gives us inconsistent effort and at best we are making excuses for his playoff disappointments. Trading him should be as big a priority as finding an upgrade elsewhere. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me endlessly shame on me.

As an aside, I actually don’t know for sure if I guessed 53 offhand. I’m pretty sure I did, but maybe I said 52? I don’t feel like checking.

truly, the vibe of these times…well said indeed…

Even when Randle is filling up the boxscore he’s mostly empty stats. He’s a low IQ basketball player, ball stopper, gives us inconsistent effort and at best we are making excuses for his playoff disappointments.

He’s the cotton candy of association ballers.

Randle played some brutally bad defense on at least 3-4 plays that I saw. Doesn’t show up in the box score but he was atrocious on D in that half

Randle played some brutally bad defense on at least 3-4 plays that I saw. Doesn’t show up in the box score but he was atrocious on D in that half

He’s barely even trying on that end. The one time he kind of tried was a somewhat hard closeout, but it was really stupid and Bates-Diop drove right by him.

just finished up my turkey/taters/dressing/cranberry jelly/rolls/sweet peas/gravy thing…

i’ve switched to using wooden dinnerware…it looks cool with that stuff in it…

How about we bring in that one guy who is good at basketball, what’s his name, Quickley or something

How about we bring in that one guy who is good at basketball, what’s his name, Quickley or something

He played 11 minutes in the first half so he probably has to rest a little more before he can go back in.

How about we bring in that one guy who is good at basketball, what’s his name, Quickley or something

I’m starting to think Thibs is on the spectrum and has a tough time with change even when the benefit is obvious .

Grimes finally tried a stop and gather jump shot off the dribble from 16 feet and it was practically a UFO.

I figured they’d go 3-1 on this home stand, might as well lose to the non conference opponent.

I turned the game on at 7:30, forgot about the early start. We were down 15. Now down 2. I have no idea what war happening earlier, but I take all the credit.

This game is the entire Julius Randle Experience. He is fucking infuriating and also we need him.

They should get on the phone and trade Randle while the going is good again for a few minutes.

Maybe it’s just my imagination but it seems like we’re bad at picking up loose balls. Every game it seems like those get away from us constantly, like we never get a lucky bounce

There’s not a lot you can do when Jordan has a hot hand. Jordan Goodwin, that is. Whoever that is.

The last two games have exposed a key issue: if we don’t dominate in the boards, we struggle

Randle really is something. Played so well for a stretch and then that travel and that sequence where he took it into three defenders and got blocked twice.

Dance with the ones you came with but shit he is exasperating

Note to Mitch: generally speaking, when Randle shoots a 3, go for the OREB instead of raising your arms in a pre-celebratory made FG sign.

Played so well for a stretch and then that travel and that sequence where he took it into three defenders and got blocked twice.

To be fair he was fouled both times

Huge shot but would’ve preferred a 2 for 1 to guarantee having the final possession.

Hopefully one of these seasons the Knicks will be a good home team and not constantly lose stupid games at MSG….

Well they made him take a tough shot.

Not a good loss to this bunch of Jordan Goodwins and Eric Gordons

The basketball gods are cruel. Booker took a terrible 3 and it goes in. Brunson gets a good look and it rims out.

3s by Suns scrubs and offensive rebounds did us in

Booker would fit very well. Maybe that’s the move. Bigger and better than Mitchell. I’m a year or two, might be possible.

I turned it off when booker’s shot went down because I knew we wouldn’t even get a shot off.

good job being wrong I guess

Tuesday’s game just got a lot easier. LaMelo Ball got hurt and is likely out for awhile with a bad ankle injury.

Strat…we had no Durant…and got hosed…you think no Ball is going to make a difference?

I’m starting to think Thibs is on the spectrum and has a tough time with change even when the benefit is obvious .

Strat may be on to something.

Against the Heat, it took Thibs 42 minutes to play his best players together.

Tonight it took him 43. The Brunson-Quickley-RJ-Randle combo played together for a whopping 4 minutes and 53 seconds.

Need to do better on the boards these last 2 games. No offensive boards last game, too many Oboards given up this time.

Guess I’m out on RJ again

That Booker shot was one of those well what can you do plays, but you can probably do something to keep Eric Gordon from scoring 25 points on 13 shots

Randle with a team leading -9.

Quickley with a team leading +5 (along with Brunson).

Not sure what Quickley and Brunson were together tonight.

Thibs is on the spectrum. That’s my new narrative.

We lost this game because Randle was in a coma in the first half, we allowed them to dominate us on the offensive boards in the first half and Thibs is either a fool or on the spectrum and can’t handle change.

At what point does it become so obvious that Quickley has to be on the court more that you finally play him 36 minutes every night?

We are probably a season and a half into obvious.

That was another 20 minutes of hot garbage from Quentin Grimes. I don’t care how good his point of attack defense is, we’re a quarter of the way through the season and he has one free throw attempt (he missed).

Dude has Frank Ntilikina disease, he is afraid to play, and just sort of stands around and hopes nobody notices. He’s taking minutes from guys who can actually play.

They didn’t lose a thing when they put Hart and Barrett on Booker, just like they didn’t lose anything when they put Barrett on Butler last Friday. It’s pretty much all in Thibs’s head at this point.

well you play close games like this and butler’s 3 misses and booker’s goes in… it really wouldn’t have taken much justice for it to go the other way and for everything to make complete sense with the way the games were goin….

i’m actually encouraged by this loss since the good news is that if you keep single guarding randle with gordon.. booker and bates-diop he can start resembling all-nba randle… but then they figured out what the rest of the nba figured out and that late help kind of counters him.. as well as everyone else… the free throws are legit encouraging… let’s hope all this continues or the season is sunk….

i will sell noble’s action on the grimes getting fournier’ed at only 30 to 1 now if there’s any takers…

I very pointedly refused to make any bet, just so we’re clear. I do still think Grimes will get more than 459 minutes on the season, but again, there is no bet.

I’m just gonna pretend KD played tonight, just kick Charlotte and Detroit’s asses next 2 games.

I second BBA’s motion.

Gordon dropped a Durant line anyway. Let’s just slap “K Durant” over “E Gordon” in the box score and call it a night.

We’ve got to figure out the rebounding problem. If we can’t crush it on the boards, we’re gonna struggle.

Okay, I checked, and I remembered correctly. I predicted 53. They need to definitely win these next two to get back on that shit!

I’ll post it here as there’s no new thread, but I had to leave at the half (Nutcracker), and I was totally up for crapping all over Julius after that utterly abysmal half, and then I see his end line. What a psycho. Here’s what Macri said:

“After finishing with 28, he’s one of four players averaging at least 23, 9 & 5 over his last 10 games. The other three have combined to win the last five MVP’s.
It’s never a question about the talent. It’s everything else that drives you nuts.”

Dude has Frank Ntilikina disease, he is afraid to play, and just sort of stands around and hopes nobody notices. He’s taking minutes from guys who can actually play.

I’ve been reluctant to say it because I’ve been a big fan of the potential of both players due to their defensive impact, but at some point you have to stop acting like an early season rookie and assert yourself on offense too. Granted, both players are limited in what they can do effectively on offense. But you can’t just hide and play hot potato with the ball every time you get it unless you are wide open. You have to make things happen. If you are incapable of that, you can’t be more than a backup on a team like this. This team is not in development mode. The off season is for improving your skills.

“After finishing with 28, he’s one of four players averaging at least 23, 9 & 5 over his last 10 games. The other three have combined to win the last five MVP’s.
It’s never a question about the talent. It’s everything else that drives you nuts.”

Team leading -9

Mr. Empty Stats

After finishing with 28, he’s one of four players averaging at least 23, 9 & 5 over his last 10 games.

In addition to what Strat said, these are just cherry-picked numbers. They don’t have any inherent meaning.

The assists come at way too high a cost in turnovers and other stupidity, and he gets multiple rebounds per game that aren’t really contested and that a teammate could get.

In terms of his pointzzz, he’s the most inefficient high-usage player in the association.

“Talent” is an irrelevancy for a guy with as many years in the league as he has and at the age he’s at.

Mr. Empty Stats

I would not call them empty stats, but misleading stats. You’ve got to throw in the turnovers, lack of defensive effort, and obviously eFG%. He still gets crucial buckets and rebounds. But the difference between this year and last is that he still has MVPish quarters (3rd last night, mostly 1st quarters last year) but the other quarters now are mostly abysmal.

Some of Randle’s poor play is almost by design. We play so much iso, and pass the ball so rarely, so Randle is often trying to create offense in the half court, while flanked by two players (Mitch and Grimes) who only shoot the ball as a last resort. Playing 3 vs 5 iso-ball where we are the “3” side is a big part of what we do around here.

Julius doesn’t get easy buckets because nobody on this team gets easy buckets. We’re fortunate that we have one of the better “difficult shot” makers in the league in Brunson, but our low-pass, iso-heavy offense is probably making some of our guys look worse than they actually are.

Julius doesn’t get easy buckets because nobody on this team gets easy buckets. We’re fortunate that we have one of the better “difficult shot” makers in the league in Brunson, but our low-pass, iso-heavy offense is probably making some of our guys look worse than they actually are.

When our PG, who is playing to an all star level, is currently ranked 35th in assists per game…I can see your point.

My god, a Randle apologist in our midst! Burn him!

Kidding, JK, you’re not wrong at all. But it doesn’t explain the terrible play so far this year, as compared to say last year.

It feels like we have a new Julius — not quite Bad Julius, and not quite Good Julius. It’s like Good Julius for a quarter every game, with Bad J showing up the other 3/4.

I have this fantasy that Thibs keeps telling him to not force things, let the game come to you. So Julius takes it to an extreme and ignores everything that’s happening around him, until such time as he feels it’s the ‘right’ time to turn it on.

Randle’s TS for the month of Nov (last 11 games) is .495.. this was after the disastrous start of the season when he was supposedly ‘hurt’…. if he was hurt then… it definitely has not gotten better and so he’s still probably ‘hurt’…

last night was encouraging tho… but he needs to string together a whole lot of those types of games where the 2pt% is above .500 and where he’s hitting his ft’s….. more than likely it was an artifact of some very strange defensive choices from the suns that gave Randle a brief reprieve from the suffocating defense he’s been getting… mostly self imposed but the level of difficulty of relying on iso attempts is generally very high….

in order for us to do anything this season… Randle needs to get back to at least close to last year… right now.. even this ‘better’ Julius.. is still very bad…

I have been conspicuously quiet about Julius Randle bc I distinctly recall last November there were moments I thought he was toast and he went on to have the best year of his career. The guy is an enigma. I’m not writing him off yet.

Mr. Empty Stats

I would not call them empty stats, but misleading stats. You’ve got to throw in the turnovers, lack of defensive effort, and obviously eFG%.

I’m OK with calling him Mr. Misleading Stats. 😉

Some of Randle’s poor play is almost by design. We play so much iso, and pass the ball so rarely, so Randle is often trying to create offense in the half court, while flanked by two players (Mitch and Grimes) who only shoot the ball as a last resort. Playing 3 vs 5 iso-ball where we are the “3” side is a big part of what we do around here.

I made the same case for Randle when Elfrid Payton was the PG. I think it’s a factor now too. But he still holds the ball too much, dribbles right into the defense too much, makes low probability passes etc.. The offense is struggling in part because he doesn’t move the ball and make quick passing decisions. We have 3 guys dribbling too much, 2 guys standing around (one near the paint), and no space.

The Knicks are near the bottom of the league in assisted 2 point attempts, and dead last in 2 point FG%. Those numbers are clearly related, and unfortunately it’s hard to see how they’re going to improve much.

We made it work last year, but I’m skeptical that this low-eFG% style of basketball is going to pan out in the long run. Night after night you can see it: we just don’t get easy buckets.

Playing 3 vs 5 iso-ball where we are the “3” side is a big part of what we do around here.

To make matters worse, it’s always 3 on 5 and we take turns with Brunson and IQ. So it’s always 3 on 5 without our best 3! It’s insane.

The Brunson-IQ-Barrett-Randle lineup is the only combination we can put on the floor* that doesn’t put us in the 3-on-5 hole. But it’s only been used for 19 minutes on the season.

* only counting players who might play, i.e. not Fournier.

Our offense was fine last night, good even. We can complain about Randle, Grimes, and the lineups all day but the issues were defense and rebounding.

We’re not much different than last year. The problem is when we struggle on the o boards – as we have the last 2 games. That has been the secret sauce, or “Moneyball” advantage, as E has called it. I don’t know whether we can adjust to the adjustments, but if so, we should be back in the top 10 on offense. I mean, we almost are now, despite everything. #11 in the league somehow.

The problem is so obvious, Thibs and management have to see it. We know Thibs doesn’t like to make changes based on small samples, but we are closing in on 20 games this season and we had most of the 2nd half of last season to see that the team functions better with Quickley on the floor. At this point he’s just being thickheaded. If he’s not going to start him, at the very least make some alterations to the minutes allocation so Quickley is getting 35-36 minutes.

I think JK’s point is important to note whenever one is analyzing Randle. In the starting lineup, he is one of two players you can kinda, sorta trust to create a decent unassisted look, and relatedly he is one of two players who tends to draw disproportionate defensive attention. As a result he’s tasked with taking shots he ideally would not take.

I don’t think the “empty stats” allegations are entirely fair because he’s now had two Knicks seasons in which he was obviously (i.e. by every metric, common sense, and the eye-test) essential to winning.

All that said, teams with visions of doing anything remotely interesting in the playoffs simply cannot withstand the negative impact of a Bad Randle Year. Given that we’re at a high-level talent deficit compared to other good-ish or better teams, our margin of error is way too slim for that. If he doesn’t get it together our season is basically over.

We all know that ideally we wouldn’t rely on the guy as much as we do, I don’t think even his biggest boosters deny that.

So the questions are:

1) if we are able to reel in more talent, is there a downsized version of Randle that makes sense?

2) would the team as currently constructed be better off with a lower ceiling, but less volatile player, like, to use a totally random example, Obi Toppin of the Indiana Pacers?

Our offense was fine last night, good even. We can complain about Randle, Grimes, and the lineups all day but the issues were defense and rebounding.

The first half effort and rebounding were the disaster that cost us the game, but the offense was not good. We made tough shots, which is great, but we aren’t going to get an effort like that from Brunson every night. We need to do something different.

We play so much iso, and pass the ball so rarely, so Randle is often trying to create offense in the half court, while flanked by two players (Mitch and Grimes) who only shoot the ball as a last resort. Playing 3 vs 5 iso-ball where we are the “3” side is a big part of what we do around here.

Spot on. Screens are mostly used to slighltly free up the ball carrier (JB/IQ) or to get switches for matchups. At the very least, we must feed Mitch/iHart at the rim or run JB/Randle PnRs instead of all the DHOs.

Think they can finish first 20 at 12:8 which would be a huge success consdering they’re overcoming poor Thibs rotations alongside totally garbage Randle & Grimes.

I don’t think the “empty stats” allegations are entirely fair because he’s now had two Knicks seasons in which he was obviously (i.e. by every metric, common sense, and the eye-test) essential to winning.

It would be tough for us to play without Julius every night because we don’t have many players that can up their usage a bit and remain as efficient like many other good teams have. But there’s nothing in the on/off that suggests if Randle went away we’d suddenly be bad. He’s a negative or barely positive almost every year. Part of that is because on a relative basis our bench tends to outperform other benches more than our starters tend to outperform other starters, but IMO it’s not all that. His ball holding, TOs, and inconsistent effort on D offset a lot of the good he does. IMO, his contribution to winning is lower than the boxscore and accolades suggest (which is probably why he’s not a hot trade ticket around the NBA).

I don’t know whether we can adjust to the adjustments, but if so, we should be back in the top 10 on offense.

this has next to no shot at happening…

here are the teams with 2pt% below .500 and their ortg in the last 5 years:

2022 Pistons – 28th
2022 Knicks – 22nd
2021 Magic – 29th
2021 Knicks – 23rd
2020 Warriors – 30th
2020 Hornets – 29th
2020 Knicks – 28th
2019 Pistons – 21st
2019 Bulls – 29th
2019 Cavs – 25th
2019 Knicks -30th

From 2018 and below you had nearly half the league shoot under .500… if you notice the knicks being on this list nearly every year besides last year which was the only year we managed to shoot around league average and that helped us get to a decent offense…

the offense is not well… and it’s only been bailed out by good 3pt shooting so far… and i’d love to think brunson can shoot 50%+ on pullup 3s all year but that’s not a great assumption…. and once that stops that’s going to tank our offense….

I have been conspicuously quiet about Julius Randle bc I distinctly recall last November there were moments I thought he was toast and he went on to have the best year of his career. The guy is an enigma. I’m not writing him off yet.

He certainly plays well sometimes but for your lead guy he’s way too risky (*) and high maintenance.

I find it odd/interesting/weird/ironic/whatever that Thibs is so risk-averse in so many ways — roster, the deployments of people like Elfrid Payton/Reggie Bullock/Quentin Grimes because of their “steadiness” and “defense” — and is OTOH so willing to take massive risk with his lead guy and give him so much leash.

It warrants more thought before full commentary, but I suppose the plain vanilla/most favorable explanation is that he mitigates risk with the Elfs of the world because he knows he’s taking risk on with the Julius’s of the world and he constructs the “portfolio” in a way that the overall risk is somewhat normal.

(*) In the stock market sense of performance uncertainty and wide scatter.

I don’t think the “empty stats” allegations are entirely fair because he’s now had two Knicks seasons in which he was obviously (i.e. by every metric, common sense, and the eye-test) essential to winning.

Yeah. but the obvious counter to that is that they haven’t “won” in any serious sense.

1) if we are able to reel in more talent, is there a downsized version of Randle that makes sense?

Interesting idea. I was saying the same thing last night. Have to lower his usage and force Randle to defend and do smaller things that effect winning to get him to be the best version of himself, – so that when playoffs begin, – he’s ready to battle on both ends.

This is why Thibs must start IQ and forcing Grimes to come off the bench will end up making him aggresive, increasing his usage and make him better too. We don’t have to trade for talent, answer is sitting on the bench playing 25 minutes a game. Increase that to 36 minutes and you minimize Randle problem.

Thibs can tell him that JB, IQ and RJ will generate offense and he can mostl;y spot up to stretech the floro and if he defends well he’s usage will go up.

2) would the team as currently constructed be better off with a lower ceiling, but less volatile player, like, to use a totally random example, Obi Toppin of the Indiana Pacers?

Yes, it would. Julius is far too risky, without enough offsetting upside. (Which is why his trade (actual market) value is so much lower than what it would be if it was based on only his “up” play. Too much risk/uncertainty. There’s also risk/uncertainty in the weird role he has to play to get his “upside.” Just way too much there. All this has been there since literal Day One, which is why he should have been moved long ago.)

this has next to no shot at happening…

We are going to keep attacking the offensive boards to give ourselves more possessions to make up for the lower FG%. Some nights it will work and some nights teams will keep us off the boards because they are a very good defensive rebounding team or because they successfully game planned to stop/slow us down.

We are going to keep attacking the offensive boards to give ourselves more possessions to make up for the lower FG%.

The whole Moneyball approach falls apart without the deployment of the 5 close to the boards, attacking the boards, and getting the resulting OReb’s. It ain’t changing.

We play so much iso, and pass the ball so rarely

Butbutbut I thought Thibs was a genius??? As such, ISO-ball must be a key component to winning that the Warriors and other stupid teams of the league just don’t understand.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I don’t think anyone has ever called Thibs a “genius” on the offensive side of the ball. If he’s ever been called a “genius” at anything, it’s been on the defensive side of the ball. (And I’m not saying that I necessarily even agree with *that* assessment.)

this has next to no shot at happening…

I mean, we are ranked #11 today. Check my math, but I believe top 10 is only one step away? I dunno, these advanced stats are so tricky… Then again, we were only #3 last year, with roughly the same roster, so you’re probably right, there’s next to no shot. Same people, currently #11 – nah, top 10 isn’t happening.

Awhile back I used to play a computer game called Starcraft, a real-time strategy game where you build a base and produce an army to fight other players. This game had a major e-sports scene, with the highest levels dominated by Korean players who trained extensively to have incredible hand speed and multitasking ability. A common metric is ‘actions per minute’ (APM), and the greats would range around 400+.

As an old guy with penguin flippers for hands I was hard pressed to compete on those terms, so I came up with weird and unpredictable strategies that tended to counter the common metagame — moneyball, if you will. Using these tricks and gimmicks, I was often able to beat much more talented players in random matches, simply because they were expecting me to play conventionally and I played weird. Eventually I made it to the Diamond league, then the highest tier of ranked amateur play.

Unfortunately I found that once I got to a high opponent talent level, or played a skilled opponent in a series of games, they would reliably make adjustments to counter my trickery, and then it was my 100 APM against their 400, which almost always ended in my defeat.

That’s what this team reminds me of. We win in the regular season because opponents don’t have the time or incentive to do the things that thwart our gimmicks, or simply have bad coaches who don’t adjust to our unconventional strategy. The second they do, we become easily beatable because we have a badly flawed roster helmed by a coach who is terribly slow to adapt to change, to the point where we can question if he even sees the need to adapt.

At this point we are a regular season team with a second round ceiling for the foreseeable future, and good coaches like Spo and Vogel will continue to outplay us even with depleted talent. Gimmickry doesn’t go so far in a league where all your games are on TV.

This roster is incredibly badly constructed. Rand and Grimes have been straight up unplayable this year. While Mitch has gotten a lot of praise, it’s becoming clear his fairest comp is a worse version of Andre Drummond — a player who can’t convert over 40% of his free throws is unplayable when opponents learn to exploit that flaw consistently, and they are learning. RJ’s uptick has become less convincing every game, which leaves us with serious questions about 4/5 of our starting lineup while Thibs buries our second best player.

Strat, while I won’t dispute Thibs’ position on the spectrum, I think a far more Knicksy and convincing explanation of IQ’s undersized role is good old fashioned MSG vindictiveness for not taking a below market deal.

I think a far more Knicksy and convincing explanation of IQ’s undersized role is good old fashioned MSG vindictiveness for not taking a below market deal.

I hadn’t even considered that, but I wouldn’t put it past Dolan.

“Strat, while I won’t dispute Thibs’ position on the spectrum, I think a far more Knicksy and convincing explanation of IQ’s undersized role is good old fashioned MSG vindictiveness for not taking a below market deal.”

If true, I think that’s even a worse reason than being on the spectrum and having a general inability to change when situations call for it.

Strat, while I won’t dispute Thibs’ position on the spectrum, I think a far more Knicksy and convincing explanation of IQ’s undersized role is good old fashioned MSG vindictiveness for not taking a below market deal.

Possibility, but my leader in the clubhouse is that Thibs is on an “up” moment in the FO deliberations and he pushed the idea that he has Hart, DDV, and Grimes already “filling that role” and doesn’t need or can make do just fine without Quickley.

Pagliacc-E with the StarCraft explainer.

I also made diamond with a terrible APM and a couple cheese tactics that worked way better than they should’ve.

Vogel didn’t figure out our offense or our gimmicks, if anything he used them against us to grab 42% of the offensive boards.

Philly is currently the 3rd best Ortg despite being 19th in efg% because they’re elite in every other category. They were an excellent offense last year too, but with Harden and a very different distribution in the four factor rankings. We aren’t the only ones.

I mean, we are ranked #11 today.

yes.. that is today… the season does not end today… you cannot simply make assumptions of where the numbers are today and think all those assumptions will hold until the end of the year…. 2pt% is a very heavy component of good offense with a borderline strong correlation (r=6.6)….

we have a weird enough offense but it was really only good last year because we were league average in 2pt territory… every other year with Thibs we were terrible and thus our offense was terrible…. this seems to be one of those terrible years….

right now it’s buoyed by good 3pt shooting really from 2 players… brunson and RJ… as soon as they ever stop shooting inhuman levels the offense will tank… our ftr rate is already tanking from last year… there’s just too many warning signs and not enough of an upside case to simply say we can keep doing what we’re doing…. there’s no way….

that does not mean things cannot change… they can…. but we need to shoot better from 2… and that really will come down to julius and a strategic change… that’s not likely to come…. barring that.. the offense will suffer….

and it also does not mean we cannot still be good… we managed to be a playoff team with a bottom third offense because we had the #2 defense in 2021… our defense is good… but it will also need to be better in order to make up for the slack…

where things end up is anyone’s guess… but there are certain things that are definitely true that you cannot just handwave away.. there are problems that exist going on 16 games now and it’s going to impact the season in a material way…. it’s time we acknowledge it…

yes.. that is today… the season does not end today… you cannot simply make assumptions of where the numbers are today and think all those assumptions will hold until the end of the year…. 2pt% is a very heavy component of good offense with a borderline strong correlation (r=6.6)….

You may well be right, but my point is the assertion that’s there’s next to no chance we end up top 10 is absurd on its face, given that we are currently right below top 10 and finished top 10 last year. Could our 3p % fall off? Sure. But Randle could end up coming up considerably, too. Grimes could take more shots. DDV could get more playing time. Mitch could figure out how to dominate every matchup and not just some. Your position is just as fragile as that of someone arguing we could be top 10 – more, even, since are almost there and were there last year.

Philly is currently the 3rd best Ortg despite being 19th in efg% because they’re elite in every other category.

yes that’s also this season and which is only 15 games old… last season they were 4th but were still around league average in 2pt territory and also #1 in 3pt% with a top 7 efg%….

rankings 15 games into the season are not like rankings 82 games into the season…. which is why net rtg and ortg/drtg are still not stable this many games in….

But Randle could end up coming up considerably, too. Grimes could take more shots. DDV could get more playing time. Mitch could figure out how to dominate every matchup and not just some.

yes things can change… i’ve said this a million times… the point is that the offense and these relative performances as it currently stands is not good enough to maintain a top 10 offense…

if randle starts becoming all-nba randle again.. yes top 10 offense can be in the cards… have we been getting all-nba randle? no! not even close! are there indications that we are getting all-nba randle back? do you think these last 11 games we got all-nba randle back? because no that’s not true….

the whole grimes and ddv sideshow whatever the outcome of that is not going to materially impact our win projection for the year… full stop.. it’s rearranging chairs on the titanic… the only important thing is whether jalen brunson really is steph curry…. or if we are geting all-nba randle back… that’s it…. and the only real mystery is actually the former….

Our offense was fine last night, good even.

Some of our players are incredibly good at hitting hard shots in ISO sets.

One of our players is the best offensive rebounder on the planet.

That doesn’t mean our offense is fine.

Our offense is a steaming pile of shit.

I just want to clarify one thing. I don’t really think Thibs is on the spectrum. And I certainly didn’t mean it as an insult since my brother has Aspergers and I see his struggles. I’m just used to dealing with stubbornness like this from my brother even when something seems obvious. So I went with it half jokingly. Then again…… 😉

Julius Randle played his 300th regular season game as a Knickerbocker last night. Those games have pretty much all involved the early prime/prime phase of his career.

His TS% in those games is .547.

He’s played 15 playoff games as a Knick. His shooting percentage in those games is .344. From downtown in those games, he’s shooting .283.

His defense gets to average only if you squint and count defensive rebounding as defense. (The less said about his effort and sloppiness with the ball the better.)

There’s simply no way this can be deemed a successful run as a Knick.

He will be 29 in two days.

the only important thing is whether jalen brunson really is steph curry…. or if we are geting all-nba randle back… that’s it…. and the only real mystery is actually the former….

Well, no. The only important thing is whether we maintain our dominant offensive rebounding. That’s what you seen to be missing, as if the stats important to you (2p % etc) are the only ones that matter. We weren’t top 3 last year because Brunson was Steph Curry (though I feel that there’s a chance he maintains his production this year). We weren’t top 3 because Randle was all-NBA (though he was, and could easily still finish with those stats this year as well). It was because we recognized we had the second best offensive rebounder in the game, and that could make up for being an average shooting team at best. It still applies this year, and ultimately will be much more a determining factor than Randle or anything else. (Assuming Randle plays like the last few games and not the first few, when he really could torpedo the offense all by himself.)

When we get stymied, as we have the last few games, we struggle. As well, when teams take advantage by leaking out for easy fast break points, we struggle. But those are the most important adjustments to make.

Our offense always looks ugly, we have a team of players who score ugly. That’s what we do. It doesn’t matter because that’s not why our offense works.

In last night’s game, BKRef had us with:

– 127 ORtg
– 31.0 ORB%
– 5.7% TOV
– .267 FTr

Those are all numbers that would land us 1st or 2nd in the league this season. Our offense was fine.

oreb% doesn’t correlate with big offense.. actually there’s a negative correlation generally speaking… (-.1475)… this matches up with what everyone normally knows about offensive rebounding….

it’s the fact that we do that as well as other things well that our offense did well… however having a high oreb% is not going to sustain our offense by itself… not with a lower 2pt% and not with a lower ftr… it’s impossible….

if you can prove different… show your work….

I also made diamond with a terrible APM and a couple cheese tactics that worked way better than they should’ve.

Oh, neat! I’ll show you my cheese if you show me yours

Also, maybe I’ve just become the world’s most unlikely Thibs stan, but I’m going to trust the heaps of reporting indicating he really likes Quickley. I think the lack of heavy minutes thus far has been due to roster construction intricacies about which we’re all familiar, combined with Quickley not being a clear upgrade over various alternatives until this season (keep in mind he was terrible for the first ~30 games last season).

As Katz notes though, there is a reckoning coming if he continues to play this well in general, and play this well with Brunson specifically. There is a limit to my relative patience with Thibs on this front. We should see 30+ minutes regularly soon.

Awhile back I used to play a computer game called Starcraft, a real-time strategy game where you build a base and produce an army to fight other players.

We are no longer a mezzanine team. We are a Pagliacci Starcraft team.

Also, maybe I’ve just become the world’s most unlikely Thibs stan, but I’m going to trust the heaps of reporting indicating he really likes Quickley.

Thibs is old school, but he’s adopted the modern era’s (social media driven) dictum to always say nice things about your players in public.

But when “liking” someone deviates significantly from “the number of minutes you play” that someone, it’s best to go with the latter.

I don’t think Thibs has ever fully warmed to Quickley and I believe the weight of the evidence supports that. That said, he certainly doesn’t dislike him. My personal belief is that, at least until Grimes’s recent run of putridity, Thibs believed the Hart/DDV/Grimes triumverate renders IQ essentially surplus to requirements. Wouldn’t be shocked if he still does.

and yes something that our defense is going to struggle and contend with all year as the last two opponents have shown… is we are susceptible to lose on the boards on the other end too…

because we play at the league’s slowest pace… there’s little to no risk for the knicks to push the pace the other way if the other team’s guards crash or if the bigs crash hard… we can counter this with some configurations with hart and randle together… but in lineups that do not have them or whenever mitch gets into foul trouble is when things can get problematic…

i don’t think it’s a big problem but we’ll probably see this from some of the better coached teams going forward…

I think a far more Knicksy and convincing explanation of IQ’s undersized role is good old fashioned MSG vindictiveness for not taking a below market deal.

Sometimes I am concerned there is an organizational unwillingness to give IQ a role that would drive up his price.

But I find impossible to believe Thibs would sacrifice winning in order to play that kind of game.

He must truly not believe.

But when “liking” someone deviates significantly from “the number of minutes you play” that someone, it’s best to go with the latter.

There’s an old saying.

“Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do”.

He must truly not believe.

To clarify: it’s possible (likely, even) that Thibs loves IQ, but the thing he can’t get behind is a small backcourt. And rather than the FO influencing Thibs, I think Thibs’ constitutional allergy to playing two 6’3″ guards together has influenced the front office, and that’s why IQ didn’t get paid.

From the Katz article.

The evidence to support more Quickley-Brunson minutes is mounting. The Knicks are outscoring opponents by 5.5 points per 100 possessions so far this season when the duo is on the court. That number was even more jarring last season: plus-12.1 per 100.

So just a reminder since y’all know this, but ALL NBA teams have flawed rosters. There are no un-flawed rosters (maybe the Warriors during their run…?). They’re all flawed in different ways, of course, just like unhappy families.

Also of course, we don’t have a super-duper-star to help gloss over those flaws. And the guy who has tried to play that role in previous seasons (and at times did a pretty good job at it) is only showing up for about a quarter of each game right now, while being demonstratively negative the rest of the time he’s on the court. Which is going to lose us a lot of games no matter what else we do.

So again, just pointing out that saying our roster is flawed is a bit like saying the sun rises in the east. Of course a lot of you are talking about how to best spackle over those flaws (play IQ more, take Julius out behind the barn and shoot him…).

My patience on Thibs, like many here, is wearing thin. There’s an argument to be made that now that players have developed (ie Barrett, Randle, Robinson) and have a taste of a winning culture, it’s time to take the next step. I will be forever grateful to Thibs for helping to bring the Knicks back to relevance. But his stubbornness will and is holding back the team.

I remember year 2 of Thibs when we lost so many big leads and lost so many close games. He got the benefit of the doubt because his first year led to a playoff berth but man it was so infuriating to watch his lack of in-game adjustments then. Even now it’s so evident against good teams his unwillingness to change it up like take out Randle when he’s playing like garbage. His demotion of certain players like Fournier is also still baffling to me.

Again I appreciate everything he’s done up to this point and love how players fight for him but man I’d love to see some kind of change eventually. I know it won’t happen this year unless the Knicks fall off a cliff in the next month but maybe giving Johnnie Bryant a shot or see if we could pry Tyrone Lou from the Clips. Idk maybe I’m overacting but I see too many repeat mistakes from Thibs.

FWIW I have not lost patience with Thibs and I don’t want to fire him. I just want to roast him bc he is currently being stupid.

And I’m actually optimistic he will stop being stupid. He just started playing IQ and Brunson together at the end of close games. That’s a big step in the right direction.

If he’s willing to play them together with the game on the line, IMO it’s only a matter of time until he becomes comfortable playing them 24-30 mpg.

hello knickerblogger…what day is it again?

humor here is that for most of the week – i had the strong feeling it was the following today…

woke up today feeling like it was sunday still…

time is a very slippery thing…

i hope you all our doing well…thanks for sharing the jalen/quik synergy notes…

i wonder who else plays well with those two: ihart/DDV/josh perhaps…

missed yesterday’s game…everyone’s comments made me think the effort probably wasn’t worth the emotional payout…

i tend to see the world in terms of risk and cost…benefits/pros start coming in down the line…

didn’t saute any veggies/fruit (carrots, celery, raisins) for the dressing…also, next time i brine so thoroughly i’ll make sure to start with the turkey having some liquid in the bottom of the pan at the beginning…i had sliced oranges, lemons, onion and parsley inside…

while the brining really did help the skin come out perfect – it dried the meat out a little within…I’ll hit the mark better next time…

BC…hi…I hope you are well…you had it right the first time – 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 – really, who cares…49…just numbers…

enjoy the ride…listen more…don’t worry so much…it just does not matter…

okay, i’m not really sure what that was all about.. i’m gonna go do something else…

be kind to one another…be kind to yourselves…

I doubt we would ever do this, but maybe this trade would fix some issues:

POR receives: Grimes, Fournier

NYK receives: Brogdon

Yes, we’d probably have to include one of our shit-trade picks, too, but this could help our lineups in numerous ways.

– We could finally start Quickley, and DDV could secure the backup role.

– Brogdon could take over the backup PG role and replace Quickley’s bench scoring. And at 6’5″, he could even play alongside Brunson at times.

It’s definitely a win-now move and probably not great for long-term maneuverability, but…

Been busy the last week prepping for tomorrow’s launch of The O.C. book, but I of course had to check in with this hugely important back-of-the-roster news:

@ShamsCharania
The New York Knicks are waiving injured guard Duane Washington Jr. and re-signing G/F Jaylen Martin on a two-way NBA contract, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Martin has averaged 13 points for Knicks’ Westchester G League affiliate this season.

Feels like a move they were supposed to do at the end of training camp but forgot about

I doubt we would ever do this, but maybe this trade would fix some issues:

POR receives: Grimes, Fournier

NYK receives: Brogdon

Brogdon is a clear improvement over Grimes but age is a factor. Yeah, Grimes is ice-cold right now. But he’s an ice-cold 22 year old. Brogdon is 30. Does Brogdon put us over the top? If so, yeah. If not, then no.

Alan literally dies in a hospital like five times and is still more productive than me, unbelievable

Assuming with are sticking with Mitch at C, these seem like the two most logical moves, but I don’t think Randle is going anywhere yet. So we may only do the upgrade Grimes part.

1. Upgrade Grimes with an all star quality offensive player with a bit of size that defends well enough.

2. Replace Randle with a stretch PF that defends.

or

1. Upgrade Grimes with a taller, longer, high level defender that can create for himself a bit and shoot the 3. Then move RJ to SG.

2. Replace Randle with a different all star caliber PF

Brother Love is Geo, right? Right?

Well he is kind of a traveling salvation show.

be kind to one another…be kind to yourselves…

Always awesome advice.

I just think Thibs has very rigid roles that he has mapped out for players ahead of time, and it’s almost impossible to get him to break out of that framework. To him, Grimes plays the first 8 minutes of each half and then gets another 6-8 minutes sprinkled in throughout the game, and he’s not taking Grimes out before those 8 minutes are up no matter what is happening on the court. He “needs” Grimes for his defense. Similarly, he “needs” Quickley to be the backup point guard when Brunson isn’t on the floor, which means there are only so many minutes you can play Brunson and Quickley, clearly the team’s two best players, together.

A personnel move that swaps out Grimes for a true backup PG, which would allow Quickley to slide into the starting lineup or at least free up more minutes for Quickley, seems like the best solution. But Leon Rose is the GM, and he likes to stand pat even more than Thibs, so…

This is pretty much what we got. I think it’s becoming clear what kind of team we are: we’ll scrap with you because we rarely turn the ball over and grab a lot of rebounds, but against other teams that negate those strengths we are going to be in trouble, because we’re just not very good at putting the ball in the basket.

Is there a historical analog for a great team that plays this way? A team that is very inefficient but manages to stay competitive by dominating the number of possessions in a game? It just seems like an unlikely way to win consistently against top teams to me. At some point you need to get some more guys who can put it in the basket.

For those biding time until Donovan Mitchell becomes available I give you this mezzanine slap from The Ringer (I totally agree):

‘Acquiring Donovan Mitchell was supposed to take the Cavaliers to the next level. But instead it looks like it’ll go down as the move that’ll keep them in the middle. Mitchell is a high-caliber scorer, but his tunnel vision on his rim assaults leads to him blatantly ignoring teammates in favor of reckless, forced shots. Add in the fact that he’s a small defender sharing a backcourt with another small guard in Darius Garland, it feels like Cleveland has too much overlap.’

All signs point to this team being exactly what people think it is: a good-not-great squad that is no fun to play against, but ultimately has zero championship equity.

It is what it is. It’s a fun team to watch in a weird way because it bucks so many modern trends, but getting past the second-round will almost certainly require a level of acquiescence to the modern trend of “putting the ball in the basket at an efficient rate.”

The players are definitely rootable and the ceiling, as hard as it is, is still higher than it’s been around here in a long time. So this front office, warts and all, has earned themselves some patience.

But this coming offseason feels like a deadline of sorts to make a major talent upgrade. Not necessarily for any particular cap-related reasons, though those exist too, but because in the absence of one it sure feels like we’ll fall too far behind in the talent accumulation arms race. Plus, things will just get kinda stale from a fan’s POV.

Does Brogdon defend well enough to replace Grimes?

Or is the idea that Brogdon runs the 2nd unit, freeing IQ to move into the starting lineup?

Still not sure our PoA defense would hold up.

Is Grimes meaningfully much better than a guy like DDV on the defensive end? My feeling is that he’s probably not.

I mean, Grimes IS a good point of attack defender. But I’d sacrifice a little bit of POA defense to get a better, more aggressive two way player in the lineup more often. The way Grimes is playing this year, he’s a net negative player, of that I am convinced.

Grimes is definitely not producing like a starter. Thibs is stubborn and may not make a change until he gives Grimes every chance, maybe until like the 20-game mark, which is around where he made changes last year. My guess is that if a change is made, it will be DDV for Grimes, with IQ coming in earlier and ultimately getting more minutes, and Grimes going down to Obi-level minutes (15-17 mpg).

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